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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Reith Review of Liberal Party Election Campaign Released

The Liberal Party has released Peter Reith’s review of the 2010 federal election campaign.

Reith Review of the 2010 Federal Election coverThe report by the former Howard government minister is 33 pages long and contains 34 recommendations to the Liberal Party’s Federal Executive.

One recommendation is that “the concept of preselections by plebiscite be introduced for House of Representatives seats prior to the next federal election in all States”. Another asks “that the party positively consider, subject to practicality, conducting two trial primaries for the forthcoming Federal election”.

On the conduct of the election campaign, Reith says “Tasmania was a classic case where more should have been done and particularly on policy”. He also questions why the party won the Victorian State election in November but “did less well” in the federal election. The ALP won two extra seats (La Trobe and McEwen) in Victoria. Reith cites the party’s poor result in South Australia as evidence of the need for “policy relevance”, especially on water management. [Read more…]


2010 Federal Election Report Released

A Joint Standing Committee report on the conduct of the 2010 federal election has been released.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is required to report on the conduct of each election.

The Committee is chaired by Labor MP Daryl Melham.

A dissenting report from the Liberal members of the committee forms part of the report. [Read more…]


Laurie Oakes Wins Gold Walkley For ALP Leaks Stories

The Channel 9 journalist Laurie Oakes has won this year’s Gold Walkley award for his coverage of the ALP leaks during the election campaign.

The first leak was used by Oakes in a question to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the National Press Club on July 15. [Read more…]


The March of Political Time

“For the times ahead” was the Victorian ALP’s slogan for last Saturday’s election. This week, if John Brumby is to be believed, the march of time defeated the 11-year-old government he led for the last three.

The March Of Political TimeIt’s odd to hear politicians and commentators talk now of the natural inevitability of a 10-year cycle for governments. True, there is a pattern of sorts since the 1980s where governments struggle to survive into a second decade. But the vast bulk of Australia’s political life since Federation is characterised by governments of remarkable longevity.

For example, on this day, December 2, in 1972, Gough Whitlam brought to an end twenty-three years of coalition rule in Canberra. Seventeen years later, in 1989, and also on December 2, Wayne Goss defeated the National Party government which had ruled Queensland with brutal certainty for thirty-two years.

The coalition’s long dominance federally between 1949 and 1972 is the most remembered example of political staying power. But the Liberals in Victoria ruled for an even longer 27 years until 1982, bookended by Labor governments led by John Cain snr and John Cain jnr. Labor has governed Victoria for 21 of the past 28 years. [Read more…]


Lindsay Tanner in Conversation with George Megalogenis

The former Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, in a rare public appearance since his retirement from politics, has discussed recent political events.

Tanner was appearing at the Wheeler Centre with George Megalogenis, author of the latest Quarterly Essay, Trivial Pursuit. [Read more…]


History Is Written By The Winners

This time last year, Kevin Rudd still had seven months left as Prime Minister and Malcolm Turnbull had nearly a fortnight before he lost the Liberal leadership.

Rudd-GillardA lot has happened since.

By any measure, it has been a big political year. The rise of Tony Abbott and the dumping of Rudd book-end a remarkable period in Australian politics. The ascent of Julia Gillard is a mere five months old. The inconclusive election that produced a minority government took place just three months ago this weekend.

It is surely too soon to write the definitive history of this period but it’s being written anyway.

One account, “The Party Thieves”, has been written by the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy. Another, “Confessions of a Faceless Man”, has been penned in diary form by Paul Howes, head of the Australian Workers’ Union.

There’s remarkable agreement between these two about what happened. [Read more…]


Brian Loughnane Analyses Result Of 2010 Federal Election

The Labor government’s electoral decline began in 2008 and continued under Julia Gillard, according the Liberal Party’s Federal Director, Brian Loughnan.

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Loughnane claimed that despite the difficulty of unseating a first-term government with all the advantages of incumbency, Tony Abbott’s “decisive leadership” made the party competitive throughout the election. [Read more…]